Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador, Abdallah Mouallimi said that ports controlled by Yemen's exiled government would reopen soon. However other ports, including Houthi-controlled Hodeidah will remain closed.

Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador Abdallah Mouallimi at the United Nations said on Monday that the blockade on Yemen will be eased in the coming 24 hours.
Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador Abdallah Mouallimi at the United Nations said on Monday that the blockade on Yemen will be eased in the coming 24 hours. ( AP )

The Saudi-led coalition will take steps in the coming 24 hours to ease the blockade on Yemen, but will not reopen a key rebel-held port, Hodeidah, where some 80 percent of Yemen's food supplies enter remain closed until a UN verification regime is reviewed to ensure no weapons reach the Houthis, Saudi's UN ambassador Abdallah Mouallimi read a statement on Monday.

"The coalition, in consultation and full agreement with the legitimate government, will begin steps related to re-opening of airports and ports in Yemen to allow the transport of humanitarian and commercial cargo," the statement said.

The statement said the first steps will start within 24 hours and will include the southern ports of Aden and Mukalla and the Red Sea port of Al Mokha, which are all controlled by Mansour Hadi's government.

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock last week warned that unless the blockade is lifted, Yemen will face "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims."

The Saudi coalition asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to send a delegation to Riyadh to "review current inspection measures to reinforce and introduce a more effective inspection and verification regime (UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen - UNVIM) aimed at facilitating the flow of humanitarian and commercial supplies and prevent smuggling of weapons, ammunition and missile parts ..."

Yemen crisis deepens 

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of famine. 

More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting nearly one million people.

The UN's World Food Programme warned that current stocks of rice will run out in 111 days and wheat in 97 unless the blockade is lifted.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

Source: Reuters